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January 22, 2018

Tennys Sandgren

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


6-2, 4-6, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3

TENNYS SANDGREN: I didn't think I'd see you guys again (smiling).

Q. The USTA president tweeted you showed five different elements. I'd like to read them off and see which one strikes you.
TENNYS SANDGREN: I like this, elements. Cool.

Q. Heart, grit, tenacity, patience and belief.
TENNYS SANDGREN: I feel like, yeah, all of them were necessary. I think patience was a big one. Patience was a big one because he was doing a lot of cool things, especially on his serve. I didn't get a lot of looks. I got a handful of looks on his serve. I had to just keep levelheaded, keep holding onto my service games, doing the right things, and hopefully I could get a few looks.

In the third, fourth and fifth, it was like I had a handful. I had two looks on second serves in the breaker, a couple again in the fourth set breaker, then the fifth set I had one service game that he had that I had three second serve looks. That's hardly any for the span of three sets like that.

The rest of the time I was holding onto my serve, telling myself to stay calm, be calm, don't burn too much energy on stuff you don't need to, just focus on what you have to do.

I think patience was a big deal there.

Q. You hadn't won a Grand Slam match ever before. You have won four, two of them against top-10 players. Are you pinching yourself, is this real, am I going to wake up?
TENNYS SANDGREN: I actually did a little bit at the end of the match doing the post match interview thinking this would be one of those moments where you wake up.

Obviously the first three matches were more than I expected. This one was about as hard-fought as I've ever had a match before. My biggest match, as well, pretty neat.

I definitely had a real pinch-me moment. Wow, this is hopefully real, you know. If I wake up now, I'm going to be real upset (laughter).

Q. We were trying to find the last guy who made a Grand Slam quarterfinal with less of a pedigree than you. We were struggling.

Q. You only had two tour wins before this, one of them by retirement. How did you convince yourself you were worthy of winning these matches?
TENNYS SANDGREN: I don't know. I haven't really. I used to put maybe more emphasis on that. Are you good enough? Are you not good enough? Now I don't really care. It's just like you do some good things and you do some things well. I know that I've competed with some good players.

So, you know, it's not about finding belief. I know that I'm good enough to do good things in the game. This is confirmation for me. It's like I know that I serve well. I know I can take care of business on my serve. I've been working on my mid-court forehand, hitting it well. I'm able to 1-2 a lot of time. If you can hold serve in this game, you can compete with anybody.

Then my movement is good. Playing good defense. Most importantly I'm staying calm and not getting too upset, not getting too up, not getting too down, able to keep my emotions under control, which is a big deal because I can be an emotional person. That doesn't go well with tennis, especially with a three-out-of-five-set match. You don't have energy to waste on emotions.

Every time I kind of wanted to, I caught myself. Just stop. Don't waste your time with this, don't waste your energy on this. You have a guy over there that's hungry. You need to stay focused. Those things are the things that I'm more concerned about.

Maybe it's maturity. Maybe it is belief that's just gone with having a few good results every now and then. This is definitely surprising for me because normally when I make like a little bit of a jump, I feel like I'm hitting my head against a wall until I get a breakthrough. It takes a while. Maybe I win one Grand Slam match or two, then I lose and go out. That's how I guess I would have been able to make a run like this. I wouldn't just make a run. That's rare for me. Normally my better results, for me at least, take time. This kind of hasn't. It's taken a lot of time going into it, but to get all your wins in one sitting is strange.

I'm grateful for that. I'm very grateful for that. The opportunity coming up, I wouldn't have guessed that, wouldn't have guessed that.

Q. The rise in your profile has grown attention to your social media output, which includes some political figures who might be considered outside the mainstream, for instance, Jan 15, Nicholas Fuentes, who I believe attended the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Do you not think you should be concerned about linking your social media?
TENNYS SANDGREN: Is that linking?

Q. I know you've written on your bio, not endorsements, but there is a regular pattern. Someone like Mike Curnovich on your feed. I believe you debated Pizzagate.
TENNYS SANDGREN: Debated? That's interesting, okay.

Q. There was an exchange at some point. Were you concerned about having yourself connected to some of these controversial figures?
TENNYS SANDGREN: I mean, no, I'm not concerned about it.

Look, who you follow on Twitter I feel doesn't matter even a little bit. What information you see doesn't dictate what you think or believe. I think it's crazy to think that. I think it's crazy to assume that. To say, well, he's following X person, so he believes all the things that this person believes, I think it's ridiculous. I think that's ridiculous.

That's not how information works. If you watch a news channel, you wouldn't then say that person who is watching the news channel thinks everything that news channel puts out. You wouldn't think that.

No, I'm not concerned about it. And I don't think any kind of engagement in that way dictates that you then are right in there with that particular person. I don't think it works that way. I don't see it as working that way.

I mean, you can ask me about my beliefs on things, that's cool. But I think to lump in and say, You follow this person, so then wow, who are you? Ask me who I am. I'm perfectly fine answering those kinds of questions.

Q. Do you feel you support some of the alt-right movement?
TENNYS SANDGREN: No, I don't. I don't. I find some of the content interesting. But no, I don't, not at all. As a firm Christian, I don't support things like that, no. I support Christ and following Him. That's what I support. Thanks, though.

Q. You've had an amazing week and a half. Is there some point in the last year or two you can pinpoint as being the turning moment of your career?
TENNYS SANDGREN: I think a big deal was playing Chung in Auckland. I feel like we had a tight contest. I feel like I had to raise my game to even compete with him on the court. I think that helped me a lot going into this week, seeing I could play a good level.

Being able to play a good level like that made me feel like, okay, maybe I can do it in three-out-of-five sets, on a bigger stage, against other players, too, maybe not just one time, maybe I am somewhere around there.

That really helped my belief going into this week. Each match, I kind of feel like I'm getting more confidence, sure of the things I'm good at.

Q. How did you start playing tennis?
TENNYS SANDGREN: My parents and my older brother played. You kind of want to do what your family does. They were on the court. I'm like, I want to be on the court, too.

I think there was like a childhood moment where I had to pick shoes, either non-marking or marking shoes. The marking shoes were Spider-Man shoes. I'm like, Well, I want the Spider-Man shoes. But I also didn't want to mark the court, I want to be able to play.

I chose the generic, non-marking shoes. It seems kind of anecdotal. It was kind of one of those moments where you choose your path, choose to do something, even at a young age.

Q. Grand Slams are physical. Your mom had a far more rough physical slam than you. What happened? Ribs, concussion?
TENNYS SANDGREN: She didn't have a concussion, thankfully. Maybe a tiny one. I think they think the concussion test failed or passed. Failed the test of having a concussion. I don't know. She cracked a rib.

I've got like a neighborhood, core neighborhood group, with my mom. They watch a lot of my bigger matches. They'll go in the basement, put the match on the projector screen on the bottom. He has a pool table down there, as well. They were jumping up and down, celebrating. She fell onto the pool table, cracked a rib. Woops.

I was pretty worried. She was describing her pain level. She's a tough woman. I was like, You need to go to the hospital. She's not a doctor person either. I am like, You need to go because you don't know if it's a cracked rib, if something is jabbing you in the lung or kidney. I don't know if ribs can do that.

I was concerned about it. She went to the hospital, thankfully. She's lying down, resting, watching some tennis and having a good time.

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